Niki Lauda – The Method 1 champion who lived twice

Niki Lauda was a three-time world champion in
Method One
, profitable entrepreneur and aviation fanatic. Lauda’s life has been punctuated by nice achievements in any area, tumultuous rivalries and unimaginable experiences. Within the following strains we’ll try to summarize a full life, exploring Lauda’s Method One profession, his personal life and his contributions to the game past his time on the observe.

The early years

Niki Lauda was born inVienna, Austria, in 1949. His household was rich and his father, Ernst, was a profitable businessman. Initially, his dad and mom needed Lauda to work in banking, however Niki had a ardour for racing automobiles. He started his racing profession in 1968, driving for March Engineering in Method 3, and inside simply three years managed to make his Method 1 debut within the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix. 1971 was a 12 months devoted to Method 2, enhanced by the debut in F1, the one race of the season within the high catagory.

The 12 months 1972 noticed Lauda working full-time for the March staff in each the European Method 2 and Method 1 championships. On the time, it was not unusual for drivers to race in a number of classes; as late because the Nineteen Seventies, there have been greater than 20 races in 12 months. Lauda’s first seasons in Method 1 have been difficult, Niki struggled to discover a aggressive automobile, however in 1974 he was employed by Scuderia Ferrari and his fortunes modified dramatically.

Niki Lauda

Rivalry on the observe

In 1975, Lauda, in his second 12 months with Ferrari, received his first World Championship by dominating the season, successful 5 Grand Prix and ending on the rostrum 11 occasions in 14 races. His most tenacious rival was his teammate, Clay Regazzoni. Regazzoni was a fierce competitor and had no qualms about competing laborious with Lauda. The 2 drivers had a powerful rivalry, but additionally a lot mutual respect. Ferrari dominated, and the followers, in between their pleasure, went loopy with pleasure.

The Nurburgring crash and the Monza comeback

In 1976, Lauda, who was main the championship, suffered a horrible accident through the German Grand Prix. His Ferrari caught hearth after hitting the rocky embankment that lined that a part of the observe, he was trapped within the automobile for nearly a minute earlier than being rescued. Arturo Merzario, Man Edwards and Harald Ertl pulled him from the wreckage of his burning automobile, saving his life. Niki suffered extreme burns to his face and lungs, and his probabilities of survival have been slim. Nevertheless, he made a exceptional restoration and returned to racing solely six weeks later at Monza, along with his accidents nonetheless therapeutic. He then demonstrated superhuman will and braveness; slipping on and off his helmet was very painful and he was nonetheless utilizing protecting dressings for his wounds. After qualifying tenth he managed within the race to complete fourth, Niki was again and the world championship nonetheless appeared inside attain. Solely 42 days had handed for the reason that German race, nevertheless it appeared like a lifetime.

Not all tales finish properly, nonetheless, and 1976 ended with Lauda retiring from the very moist Japanese Grand Prix, successfully ceding the title to Hunt by a single level. Lauda deemed it too harmful to race that day on the Fuji observe and, constant as at all times, stopped. Engineer Forghieri, technical director of the Maranello staff, made himself obtainable to inform just a little lie by resorting to the basic “electrical failure,” however Lauda would have none of it and informed his fact. The connection with the grand outdated man of world motoring then begins to crack.

NIki Lauda

The years with La Brabham and the 1979 retirement

In 1977, nonetheless, there was a return to “normalcy”: Lauda received his second World Championship, however left Ferrari for Brabham due to some disagreements and misunderstandings that arose within the tough interval between the German accident and the withdrawal from the Japanese race. Thus ends the collaboration between the Austrian driver and the Maranello staff, which in 4 years had produced two world titles, a second and a fourth place. What a time.

1978 noticed Lauda on the wheel of Bernie Ecclestone‘s Brabham; Niki had a quick however unreliable automobile and the season was marked by an extended sequence of retirements; he received two races in Sweden and Monza and was fourth general.

In 1979 the British staff’s efficiency collapsed as a result of reliability issues and an uncompetitive automobile. On the finish of a apply session on the Canadian Grand Prix, Lauda determined to retire from racing efficient instantly…he notified Ecclestone and returned to Austria to commit himself full time to operating his airline, Lauda Air, which he had based that very same 12 months.

Lauda Mclaren

McLaren, comeback and triumph

The brand new enterprise goes properly for Lauda however he evidently lacks the adrenaline of racing. In 1982 he determined to return, partly because of a $3 million super-hire, with McLaren, It was 12 months that noticed him win two races and end the championship in fifth place. After such a comeback one expects nice issues…as a substitute 1983 is a 12 months to overlook. triumph got here in 1984, nonetheless, when Lauda received his third World Championship, beating his teammate, Alain Prost, by solely half a degree.

Lauda as a person

Off the observe, Lauda was identified for his outspoken character and humorousness and infrequently gave witty solutions to journalists’ questions. When requested if he wish to see adjustments within the laws, he as soon as replied, “Sure, I wish to see race automobiles changed by airplanes. That method I might win all of the races.” He was additionally identified for his love of fine meals and wine, and infrequently indulged in each even when he was in full swing.
He was very personal and didn’t like to speak about his personal life. He was married twice and had two sons, Mathias and Lukas. Mathias adopted in his father’s footsteps and have become an expert driver, at the moment he’s concerned with AstonMartin as their official driver within the FIA WEC and Lukas is his supervisor.

susie wolf niki lauda

Lauda, ardour for planes and consulting in Method 1

Lauda was enthusiastic about aviation and held a industrial pilot ‘s license. In 1979 he based Lauda Air, identified for its excessive security requirements and glorious service; after a number of years he bought it to Austrian Airways. He later based and managed a number of low-cost and leisure airways. Twice every week he personally flew his industrial aircraft-Captain Niki Lauda.

After retiring Lauda additionally labored as a guide for a number of Method One groups, together with Ferrari and Jaguar as Workforce Principal. By the way, in 2002 he jumped into the Jaguar and examined it in Valencia, which was 18 years after his final racing season. In 2012 he was appointed non-executive chairman of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Method One Workforce and performed a key position within the staff’s success within the following years till his loss of life in 2019.

His outspoken type and talent to rise above the politics of sports activities are remembered.

Relationships with different pilots

Lauda had an advanced relationship with different drivers. He was revered for his driving abilities and willpower to win, however he may be abrasive and confrontational, they mentioned of him:

Alain Prost “Niki was an awesome champion and an awesome man. He was at all times particularly reasonable on the observe and really direct off. He was certainly one of my hardest rivals, however we at all times had lots of respect for one another.”

Lewis Hamilton, who received the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix carrying a helmet with a design that paid tribute to Lauda, mentioned “Niki was a legend of the game and it was an honor to know him. He achieved a lot in his life, each on and off the observe, and he’ll at all times be remembered as one of many greats.”

Sebastian Vettel “Niki was an actual inspiration to me, each as a driver and as an individual. He was a fighter and by no means gave up, even in probably the most tough moments. He will probably be sorely missed.”

Damon Hill “Niki was an awesome driver and an awesome ambassador for the game. He had a pointy thoughts and a depraved humorousness, and he at all times spoke his thoughts. He will probably be remembered as one of many true characters of the game.”

Gerhard Berger “Niki was a good friend and mentor to me, and I realized rather a lot from him. He was an awesome driver and an awesome businessman, and he had a singular perspective on the game. He will probably be missed by all who knew him.”

David Coulthard: “Niki Lauda was a large of the game and his passing is a big loss to the complete Method One neighborhood. He won’t ever be forgotten.” It can by no means be forgotten.”

The unforgettable races

Niki Lauda’s profession was crammed with moments that can without end be etched in Method 1 historical past. Listed below are those that outdated followers keep in mind:

1974 Spanish Grand Prix: Lauda’s first victory in Method 1. The Austrian He dominated the race by taking the lead instantly, his tempo was such that he doubled virtually all of his opponents and completed greater than a minute forward of the runner-up.

1975 Monaco Grand Prix: Lauda received the race regardless of gearbox issues that occurred for a lot of the race. Regardless of a wrist damage, Lauda drove a flawless race and took the victory.

1975 Italian Grand Prix: It was a vital race for Lauda’s season as he received the championship. He began from pole place, however needed to wrestle along with his teammate Clay Regazzoni for a lot of the race. Ultimately he received by simply over a second.

The 1976 British Grand Prix: It was a hard-fought victory for Lauda, who needed to overcome James Hunt within the closing levels of the race.

Actually, nonetheless, Some of the emblematic moments in Niki Lauda’s profession was his choice to retire from the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, which in the end handed the championship title to his chief rival, James Hunt. The race was held in torrential rain, and Lauda, who had suffered a horrible accident earlier within the season, felt the situations have been too harmful to proceed. Regardless of his lead within the championship standings, he determined to retire from the race after solely two laps. Hunt received the race and took the title by a single level. Lauda’s choice was controversial on the time, nevertheless it demonstrated his integrity and dedication to security, even at the price of a championship title. In later years, Lauda and Hunt turned shut buddies, and their rivalry and mutual respect turned the topic of the movie “Rush.”

1977 South African Grand Prix: dominant victory for Lauda, who led each lap of the race and completed greater than a minute forward of the runner-up.

1977 German Grand Prix: basic battle between Lauda and his foremost rival, Jody Scheckter. The 2 exchanged the lead a number of occasions, nevertheless it was Lauda who got here out on high, within the 12 months he managed to win his second world championship.

Grand Prix Of America, Lengthy Seashore 1982: this was Lauda’s first victory on his return to Method One. Ranging from third on the grid he climbed again as much as lead and resumed attending the rostrum.

1984 Portuguese Grand Prix: final race of the 12 months, tense battle between Lauda and teammate.




Footage from the highest: 

Christian Sinclair, Niki Lauda, driving his Scuderia Ferrari on the 1975 United States Grand Prix, Inventive Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Martin Lee, Niki Lauda - Ferrari 312T2 approaches Druids on the 1976 Race of Champions, Manufacturers Hatch, Inventive Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Martin Lee, Niki Lauda on the 1982 British Grand Prix, Inventive Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Thomas Ormston, Susie Wolff and Niki Lauda, Inventive Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.